Yelloweye Mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri (Valenciennes 1836)

Other Names: Conmuri, Coorang Mullet, Estuary Mullet, Forster's Mullet, Freshwater Mullet, Pilch, Pilchard, Victor Harbour Mullet, Yelloweye, Yellow-eye Mullet, Yellow-eyed Mullet

A Yelloweye Mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri, at Auckland, New Zealand. Source: Auckland Council, New Zealand / License: All rights reserved


This the most common mullet species found in southern Australian waters. It has two short-based dorsal fins, a broad head, a short pointed snout with a small mouth, and a slightly forked tail. Yelloweye Mullet are greenish-brown above, with silvery sides, a paler underside, with a bright yellow iris and no dark spot at the pectoral-fin base.

The most common mullet in southern Australia, often seen in large surface schools along the coast. This popular angling fish usually inhabits bays and estuaries, often around mangroves.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Martin F. Gomon, Aldrichetta forsteri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 12 Jul 2020,

Yelloweye Mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri (Valenciennes 1836)

More Info


Widely distributed in temperate waters of southern Australia from just north of Sydney (New South Wales) to Shark Bay (Western Australia) and around Tasmania. Elsewhere in New Zealand.

Yelloweye mullet form schools in shallow waters and are often seen swimming over sandy and muddy bottoms or seagrass beds in bays and estuaries, in depths to 10 metres. The species also enters freshwater in some areas.


Meristic features.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: IV; I, 9
Anal fin spines/rays: III, 12-13
Caudal fin rays: 14
Pectoral fin rays: 14-15
Pelvic fin spines/rays: I, 5

Body elongate, shallow (19-27% SL), moderately compressed; caudal peduncle shallow; head small (24-27% SL), only slightly flattened above, distinctly deeper than broad posteriorly; snout pointed; eyes of moderate size (20-26% HL), with small triangular adipose membrane in front; mouth terminal, oblique, small, reaching to below forward edge of eyes; teeth small, strong, in narrow bands on jaws, enveloped by lips, and on tongue, vomer, palatine and pterygoid; Nostrils nearer each other than to lip or eye, posterior not reaching above level of upper rim of eye; interorbital convex.

Scales mostly cycloid, moderately small, covering body and head, those on cheeks smaller than elsewhere, 54 58 scales between edge of each operculum and base of tail; lateral line absent.

Two widely separated, short based dorsal fins, spinous dorsal located centrally on back, outer margin of soft dorsal slightly concave; anal fin slightly larger than soft dorsal, base of first soft ray distinctly in advance of origin of soft dorsal fin, outer margin of fin strongly concave; caudal fin of moderate size, distinctly forked; pectoral fins inserted at level of eyes, small, upper rays longest, reaching to below origin of first dorsal fin; dorsal ray of pectoral fins developed as a short spur or ‘spine’ (not a true spine), not reaching level of origin of first dorsal fin; pectoral fins 19 to 23% standard length, 73 to 93% head length; ventral fins small, abdominal, inserted below middle of pectoral fins. 


To 50 cm TL, usually to 30 cm.


Yellowish brown above, fading to silvery white below; iris golden yellow; fins pale, almost translucent, with dusky margins; no dark spot at pectoral-fin base.


Omnivore - feeds on plant, animal and detrital material. Adults mostly scavenge on organic matter, while juveniles feed on plankton and small benthic invertebrates.


There appear to be eastern and western populations of this species. Individuals in Western Australia spawn in the winter, whilst those in eastern waters spawn during summer. Yelloweye mullet breed in estuaries, spawning large numbers of tiny free-floating eggs; likely to participate in group spawning.


Considered to have tasty flesh and is netted commercially.


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed
  • Remarks

    This is the most common species of mullet in southern waters and is an important food source for predators, including humans.


    Dianne J. Bray & Martin F. Gomon

    Yelloweye Mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri (Valenciennes 1836)


    Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp. [255]

    Cadwallader, P.L. & G.N. Backhouse . 1983. A guide to the freshwater fish of Victoria. Victoria Government Printing Office. Melbourne. 249 p.

    Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Mugilidae. In Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter.Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland & Museum Victoria.

    Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs [660]

    Harris, J.A. 1968. The yellow-eye mullet. Age structure, growth rate and spawning cycle of a population of yellow-eye mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri (Cuv. and Val.) from the Coorong Lagoon, South Australia. Trans. Royal Soc. S. Aust. 92: 37-50.

    Hoese, D.F. & D.J. Bray. 2006. Mugiliformes, pp. 675-685. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing, Part 1.

    Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp. [327]

    Kingsford, M.J. & K.A. Tricklebank. 1991. Ontogeny and behavior of Aldrichetta forsteri (Teleostei: Mugilidae). Copeia 1991(1): 9-16.

    Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. [262]

    Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs [402]

    Munro, I.S.R. 1961. Handbook of Australian fishes. Nos 1–42. Australian Fisheries Newsletter 15–17, 19, 20: 1-172 [published as separates 1956–1961] [106] (721)

    Thomson, J.M. 1996. Family Mugilidae. pp. 191-197 in McDowall, R.M. (ed.). Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : Reed Books 247 pp. [195]

    Thomson, J.M. 1997. The Mugilidae of the world. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 41(3): 457-562 fig. 1 [472]

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37381001

    Depth:0-10 metres


    Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

    Habitat:Coastal marine, entering freshwater

    Max Size:50 cm TL

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